I've always taken a sunny clothesline for granted. Growing up our Hills Hoist was massive and basked smugly in northern sunlight; even on a sunny winter's day your clothes would dry in one day, particularly if there was a wind. Windy days were spectacular with sheets and shirts and skirts and jeans and undies whirling out and around as if they were on a sideshow ride for textiles. The hoist itself would squeak (in joy I like to think) as it spun.
I lived in our family home until six years ago, and oh boy, do I ever miss the Hills Hoist. And the sunshine.
Our clothesline now is about 1/3 the size, and extends from the side of the house. It's not a lovely rotary Hills Hoist but a static line, and worst of all it's on the eastern side of the house so only gets sun in the morning. Another month and it will get a scant hour's sunshine, weak and feeble, and the only things that will be dry at the end of the day will be fine cotton handkerchiefs. Even the sheets don't dry unless it's windy.
We don't have a tumble dryer. Firstly we have no room for one in our tiny laundry, secondly I have my green side and don't want to waste power. In winter we have our gas heater on in the evenings anyway so we dry any damp washing on a rack in front of the heater, rotating the items and taking them off the rack once they've baked - er, dried.
It's not as if we can install a Hills Hoist here either. We live in a townhouse with a small courtyard. Even the smallest Hills Hoist wouldn't rotate but simply whack against the walls.
From my office window I can see my neighbour's garden, and they are the proud owners of a big Hills Hoist in full sunshine. Today it's laden with bedlinen, towels and absolutely ginormous undies. My neighbours are elderly, and he wears y-fronts that would fit a horse and she wears those massive nylon granny knickers that come half way down your thighs and apparently reach up almost to your bra. They fill with air like a spinnaker when it's windy. (My mum is also a fan of The Massive Knicker. I hope I don't succumb in my old age.)
Look at that washing, getting all toasty and warm in the sun; mine on the other hand is already firmly in the shade at 10.45am. There's not a breath of wind at the moment and the towels are as damp as they were two hours ago when I hung them out.
Autumn, winter and spring are my favourite seasons. The sting has gone from the sun and the light is wonderfully soft. They are also my seasons for clothesline envy.
I don't envy people their clothes or expensive handbags, or their red sports cars. But I do envy them sunny clotheslines.